Sunday, June 18, 2006

Knock and Announce

I am off on a college orientation trip, and I'm lacking access to my e-mails. I lack access to my brain, too -- it's a long drive, and the IRS is occupying a lot of my brain these days.

But I digress...

I got an interesting e-mail from a Juvenile Bufflinquent, offering some observations about the Supreme Court's decision not to suppress evidence obtained after police obtained a warrant for a search, but failed adequately to knock and announce their presence prior to entering.

It's an interesting decision, and one I haven't yet really delved into; I certainly haven't looked at it as closely as I normally would [and will], and I can't offer any good thoughts. I am always troubled by any decision that I perceive as weakening our Constitutional protections against government intrusion into our lives. And catching drug dealers is not my principal concern in life, but stopping an overreaching government from thinking it can determine its own course [guided only by its good intentions] is always tops on my hit parade.

But the Exclusionary Rule, like the "Miranda warnings," is a creation of judges to help enforce the Constitutional guarantees; the rule isn't guaranteed by the Constitution itself. Similarly, the "knock and announce" rule is well-settled and well-established, but is similarly not guaranteed by the Constitution.

So I'm likely to hate the majority's decision, but it's an interesting case with unusual twists. I'm hoping our DA friend will offer his insights and observations here, too, and that you'll all pipe in on your thoughts on police searches, safety from crime, safety from police, judges, and the Big C.





* "Big C" = "We the People" etc. . . .

8 Comments:

Blogger bigglesby said...

JuvBuf -- if you can send the op-ed piece you mentioned, or a link, that too would be cool. I've got e-mail issues here ....

Sunday, June 18, 2006 10:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Juvenile Buffoon said...

Sure...

I can't disagree with the core holding, which is that throwing out evidence is too drastic a penalty for the prosecution to pay when officers executing a search warrant fail to follow the "knock-and-announce" rule.

But I don't understand why the majority could not have required the police to show the judge issuing the warrant extenuating circumstances justifying a no-knock warrant. That's how we do it here in NY state.

That's no onerous burden on the police - most of the time, the subject matter of the warrant itself (easily flushed drugs, dangerous illegal weapons, violent suspects) will also provide basis for a no-knock.

But the majority rule won't prevent marauding, "cowboy" officers from violating no-knock unjustifiably.

Fortunately, I am guessing most states will do what NY does and require extra elements for no-knock.

Monday, June 19, 2006 2:14:00 pm  
Anonymous d-terrent effect said...

I'm not so sure it's too drastic a penalty.

It's not like we're amputating a finger of the cop who didn't knock and announce.


Although that's not a bad idea.


The only way to get people to conform to normative rules is to impose penalties.

If the rationale is that "knock and announce" isn't really strongly ingrained, then say so . . .

Monday, June 19, 2006 10:39:00 pm  
Anonymous concerned dterrent effect said...

no, "normative rules" is not redundant when used to distinguish from arbitrary rules. . .

Monday, June 19, 2006 10:42:00 pm  
Anonymous A.D.A. Buffoon said...

"I'm not so sure it's too drastic a penalty."

I think it is. It's not like they don't already have a warrant.

And, not to get all Nancy Grace or anything, but my first instinct was to say "try telling that to a victim of really horrendous crime."

And, I feel justified to a certain degree in pulling a line like that, since it's something I actually have to do from time to time.

It's........not like they don't already have a warrant.

I just don't think it rises to the level of "unreasonable" search which, as you point out, is what the Constitution guarantees.

Umm...but I didn't like the opinion, either.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 10:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Chutney said...

Say!

Terrific thread, guys!

Way to keep those cards and letters coming!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 11:48:00 pm  
Blogger 'Alf A Bee said...

And, not to get all Nancy Grace or anything, but my first instinct was to say "try telling that to a victim of really horrendous crime."

And, I feel justified to a certain degree in pulling a line like that, since it's something I actually have to do from time to time.

It's........not like they don't already have a warrant.


The victim of any crime is a victim, and the exclusionary rule, in every case, probably has the same painful effect. Like i said, they just need to announce that "knock and announce" isn't important, or settled in our law. Which, of course, is not the case, at least based on their earlier opinions.

I understand your points, and I understand the difficulty of applying the Exclusionary Rule. And the distaste associated with its application and the results.

But i, of course, am and always have been more troubled by the absence of distaste for violations of the Constitution, and for violations by the state -- by our agents.

As some wag once said, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . ." When we consent to unjust powers, or relax our vigilance over reduction of liberty, we



oooooooh, it's bad.

Thursday, June 22, 2006 12:09:00 pm  
Blogger 'Alf A Bee said...

"they" meaning the Supremes...

Thursday, June 22, 2006 12:10:00 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home